Barring certain health issues or treatments, women go through menopause in their 40s or 50s. It’s the natural end of the female reproductive cycle, and it marks a significant change in female hormone production.
During your reproductive years, hormones regulate your menstrual cycle. Your hormones fluctuate over the course of each month, and they change even more if you get pregnant and have a baby. But when you reach menopause, those female hormones start a steady decline.
Decreased hormone levels in menopause can cause symptoms like hot flashes, mood swings, insomnia, and weight gain, just to name a few. And since female hormones control reproduction, you might also notice changes like decreased libido and vaginal dryness.
Your body goes through a lot of changes during menopause, and it’s common to feel unlike yourself. These changes are a natural part of getting older, but if you’re unhappy with a painful, unsatisfactory, or slower sex life, you don’t have to settle.
Daniel McDonald, MD, Marc Wilson, MD, and our team at OB/GYN Specialists provide comprehensive care for women in menopause and beyond. We’re here to help you navigate the changes of menopause — and that includes your sex life.
The connections between sex and menopause symptoms
Estrogen and progesterone are the two main female hormones. They control ovulation, fertility, and your menstrual cycle. As you approach menopause, these hormone levels start to decline. Your menstrual periods may get irregular, and eventually, they stop completely.
Menopause officially begins once it’s been a full year since your last menstrual period. At that point, your body no longer ovulates, and you’re not able to get pregnant anymore.
Declining hormone levels are responsible for the end of your menstrual cycle, but the changes don’t stop there. Many women find that their attitudes toward sex and their ability to enjoy it change too.
Menopause can trigger some significant physical changes that directly affect your sex life. Low estrogen often causes vaginal dryness, itchiness, and discomfort. These symptoms can make sexual intercourse uncomfortable, or even painful.
Additionally, blood circulation to your vagina decreases during menopause. This can make it more difficult to get aroused and orgasm, which can be both frustrating and embarrassing for the women who experience it.
Low estrogen, vaginal dryness, and decreased sensation are all common symptoms of menopause. Add to them other menopausal issues like insomnia, depression, and anxiety, and you might find that wanting to have sex slips toward the bottom of your to-do list.
Finding satisfaction in sex after menopause
If your sex life is slowing down due to menopause, you don’t have to accept it as an inevitable part of getting older. Everyone deserves to have a satisfying sex life, and our team is here to help.
Many women find that implementing healthy lifestyle changes can improve symptoms of menopause and enhance their sexual experiences.
Regular exercise and eating a healthy diet can help regulate hormones and make you feel more like your old self. If vaginal dryness is your main concern, over-the-counter lubricants may prove very effective in easing vaginal discomfort during sex.
For more severe symptoms, Dr. McDonald and Dr. Wilson specialize in hormone management with hormone replacement therapy (HRT). HRT addresses the negative symptoms of menopause by rebalancing hormone levels in your body.
It can be an effective solution for common menopausal symptoms like vaginal dryness, discomfort, low libidio, and other issues that are getting in the way of an enjoyable sex life.
HRT is available in customizable dosages and a variety of forms, including oral medications, skin patches, vaginal creams or inserts, and subcutaneous pellets. Our team works with you to develop a treatment plan based on your health and symptoms, and we monitor your condition closely throughout treatment.
There’s no denying that menopause changes your body and the way you feel. But if you’re wishing you could take some of those changes back, HRT could be an option for you.
Contact our Denton, Texas, office at 940-202-0566 or send us a message online to learn more.